In this section students study the basic hardware of every computer system: inputs, processing, output, and storage, plus system software.
Note: CIE have many a couple of minor changes to the Computer Science syllabus for the 2016 examinations. In this section, topics 1.3.3 and 1.3.4 have been expanded to cover a wider range of input devices (including a range of sensors such as pH, temperature, and so on), plus a set of output devices. Primary storage has also been added to section 1.3.5. Click here for recommended Cambridge IGCSE Computer Science textbooks.
These sheets from cse4k12 are excellent activities to help students understand Boolean logic and Boolean conditions. The sheets present students with a series of 2D shapes with different properties. Students must identify and use different Boolean conditions (e.g. isTriangle, isShaded) to select particular groups of shapes.
PDF and SVG versions of the documents are supplied, and they are licenced under CC-SA, so you can make alterations if you wish (e.g. adding colour)
The site also has several related worksheets, such as Boolean logic to Venn diagram handouts and truth tables for logic gates.
The sheets were created by Gary Kacmarcik at cse4k12 site and are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
The Little Man Computer (LMC) is a software simulator of a simple computer with a CPU, memory, and a basic instruction set. Students can enter programs in either assembly language or machine code and follow their execution by watching the change state of the program counter, accumulator, and memory. More advanced versions show animated representations of the address and data lines too. The LMC is a great tool for helping students visualise how code and data are represented in memory and how the fetch-execute cycle works.
There are now many versions of the LMC available. Some of the best include:
- Little Man Computer (Flash version) which runs in the browser
- Little Man Computer (Java applet) which runs in a web browser (Java plugin needed)
- Little Man Computer (Windows version) for Windows with .NET installed.
BBC Bitesize covers a wide range of input and output devices. Key concepts are clearly explained. The great thing about the BiteSize site is that it links to a series of related resources, including student activities, news article links, and online dictionaries and encyclopedias.
IGCSE ICT has notes on many topics (including input and output devices) that are useful for a range of ICT and Computing courses. The notes are very comprehensive, clearly divided into sections, well illustrated, and easily understandable for students. This is a good starting point for a lot of topics - not just for the IGCSE course.
Barcode activity with teacher's notes, student worksheets, lesson plan, and presentation slides from the Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching. The lesson takes students through how barcodes work, including the calculation of the check digit. There are also plenty of activities and examples.
Lesson 1 - Computer Systems guides students through basic computing hardware. There are tasks to identify and describe input and output devices as well as label the internal components of the computer.
This lesson is one of the many excellent resources provided under CC-NC-SA by Mr Colley. I've added a PDF version of the original .pub documents included in the zip for those who don't have Microsoft Publisher.
The slides in this presentation present basic 'facts' about computing fundamentals: input, output, binary, hexadecimal, and data representation. Each slide contains a number of basic mistakes (highlighted on the following slide). Students simply need to read through the text, spot the mistakes - and correct them. These activities work well as quick lesson starters or plenaries to check understanding.
Covers all aspects of primary and secondary storage devices, including interactive lesson activities, notes, and a revision quiz. Well illustrated, this page also details the relative advantages and disadvantages of each storage medium.
Although targetted at the IGCSE ICT syllabus, this site still has a lot of useful information for other courses. Their section on storage covers different types of storage media and storage devices, including optical, magnetic, and solid state systems. They also have a section on backing up data.
Teach-ICT is a popular site which covers the basic topics of computer science - in this case, with notes on secondary storage devices and comparisons in terms of capacity, speed, portability, durability, and reliability. It also has a small section on online storage (cloud computing)
This download contains PowerPoint presentations, worksheets, and Internet resources for the topic storage devices. It includes a comparison of the types of devices and their properties.
This lesson is one of the many excellent resources provided under CC-NC-SA by Mr Colley.
A thorough overview of operating systems, the reason we need them, and the types of tasks they perform. Some of the technical language is dropped in without explanation and will probably go over the heads of GCSE students at first, but it is worth sticking with because the level of detail is good.
A clear explanation of the differences between the many programming languages available. Near the beginning of the video is an excellent diagram that shows machine code, low level languages, high level languages, and human languages on the same continuum, to help you understand how they differ. It then goes into more detail about the benefits and drawbacks of each language type.
A good follow up to this video is Translators (Assembler, Compiler & Interpreter), created by the same person.
The CS Field Guide has a very comprehensive guide to different types of programming languages. These range from very high level graphical languages such as Scratch, down to assembly language and machine code. The differences between each language type are clearly explained. There are also lots of interactive elements to try, including a MIPS assembler and simulator to allow students to try assembly language without risk of damage to their machine.